Thirty, flirty and thriving.
I was 14 years old when the movie “13 Going on 30” came out.
And let me tell you something.
It. was. magical.
I wanted to dance to Thriller at a fancy industry party. I wanted to be a member of the Six Chicks (but like, a nice one). And I wanted my incredible boobs to fill out my dresses.
Le sigh. If wishes were horses.
It must also be noted that this movie introduced me to Pat Benatar’s Love is a Battlefield and Billy Joel’s Vienna. I’d say that’s a win-win.
But in the eyes of my 14-year-old self, turning thirty seemed like a lifetime away. I was still two years away from getting my license, seven years from my first legal drink, and eleven years shy of renting a car.
So turning thirty?? I needed to kiss a boy first.
But sure enough, it happened.
Not the boy thing , though I can verify that happened.
Yesterday, I left the decade of my college graduation and wedding day, and turned the page of life.
So I thought it would be fitting to ring in this new decade a little differently.
I’d seen posts like “30 birthday wishes” or “30 things to do before you turn 30.”
And if these last 8 months hadn’t been the blazing dumpster fire that it has turned out to be, I probably would have done one like that.
But more than half of 2020 has gone, we are still in its midst, and there’s still more to come. And it’s been a lot.
Like, go home 2020, you’re drunk.
And as the kids these days say (I feel like I can say that now) I’ve got to stay woke.
So without further adieu, here are my 30 birthday laments.
- The overused and racially charged handling of the word thug. You may as well keep your subtleties and just call them the n-word.
- The suffering of depression. You are not alone. Please talk to someone.
- The inevitable target on my back for calling out racism.
- The economic and racial disparities blatantly revealed by Covid-19.
- Division in the Church.
- Thinking I ordered a birthday chai tea latte and finding out I ordered coffee. #thankunext
- Alabama summers that have all but eliminated my ability to take afternoon walks.
- The Fall and sin of mankind that brought roaches and mosquitos.
- Starting an audiobook only to realize it’s 15-hours (who has the time?!)
- Finishing said 15-hour audiobook (me. I have the time.)
- The justification of injustice.
- Instagram vitriol from Christians.
- The phrase “well if only he had...”
- The loudness of silence.
- The loss of my 20-year old metabolism. RIP.
- No college football (because c’mon SEC, just call it).
- Cavities. And just going to the dentist in general.
- My dog finally realizing she can open the door and escape her doggy gate.
- The apparent extinction of Lysol spray.
- A 17-year old killer being hailed a hero.
- A 17-year old who was killed being blamed for his own death.
- Needing to be sinless in order for your life, and subsequent death, to have had value.
- My view of the Church being forever changed.
- Ahmaud Arbery.
- George Floyd.
- Elijah McClain.
- Jacob Blake.
- Breonna Taylor never being able to write a blog post about turning 30.
Has it all been bad?
No, of course not. I have read great books and had some deep conversations.
I have spent time quality time with the ones that I love.
By the grace of God, I made it to thirty.
But that list of names above? Three out of the five of them weren’t so lucky.
So I will lament. I will mourn. I will have anger, but pray that it doesn’t stay.
And I will hope that when the truth is told, that we can get what we want [justice], as we all [get the chance] to get old.
We have kicked off and we’re nowhere close to being halfway through.
I hope that you realize.
Justice, truth, love, compassion — and of course, Vienna — wait for you.
photo credits: Johannes W on Unsplash, Kristina Flour on Unsplash
2 thoughts on “30 Birthday Laments.”
Beautiful words Kaitlin, provoking words. I will never truly know or be able to totally understand the depth of your words about racial injustice though, no matter how much I watch, read, study or cry over the injustice. As a matter of fact, even though I have always considered myself to be what people now describe as “woke” I’ve found that in so many ways I’m about as woke as some of those statues which have been toppled lately. I’m not sure what the answers are but I know that “love thy neighbor as thyself” (only King James when I was growing up!) is the place that I’ve always considered to be my home base.
I used to put my mother on her ear when I was growing up there in the lily white suburbs of Birmingham by saying that if I’d just been born a few years earlier I’d have been marching in downtown with the other protesters. My little brother was actually born on the very day that Dr King gave his I Have a Dream speech in Washington DC; for some reason I’ve always been so proud for my brother to share the day. But all these things are merely lip service to something that I will never truly be on the inside of (and yes, my participles dangle like an old woman’s slip from beneath her Sunday dress) and can only see from my outsider’s point of view. I have to keep trying and never ever give up on trying to be a better person, a better citizen, a better neighbor.
My Bible study lately has been in GEPC (we grew up calling it “God’s Electric Power Company” to remember Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians). I love reading Paul’s letters. I’ve found that the church then was no different than the church today. We are still a flawed, sinful people with more warts than beauty marks. I think it was Dr King who said something like “Sunday morning at 11:00 is the most segregated time of the week” and it’s still as true today as it was when he said it. And I don’t know if that will ever change because of our nature, our longing to be with those who know us best. I’m not saying that this is right, I’m just saying that it’s going to take a few generations, if we’re here that long, to tear down that 11:00 barrier! But there is good in the Church too. I know that no matter where I go to church people there will always disappoint me and I will disappoint them but I also know that I will find love there. I will find acceptance and I will find flawed, sinful people like me just trying to stay afloat. Don’t ever give up though—people in the Church will fail you but Christ never will. I don’t put much stock in the “pastors” you see on TV and right now all I can say is “God help that Jerry Falwell guy” because he has hurt both the “church” and himself in unimaginable ways. His representation of the “church” is what Paul spoke about so many times—those warts and blemishes we wear get bigger every year as the world seems to get a little more evil, thank you Jesus, for what you see in your children and love us anyway.
At 30 my laments weren’t anything like yours but they were indeed that, laments. I still carry many of the same ones at 66 (now that is when you can really declare your “old-ness”!) Our lists may look different but we are the same really…just two Christian women trying to do the best we can and trying to make a difference, one person at a time. I love your mother. She is and always will be special to me. I hope that you and I will always be friends, even if it’s only through me reading your beautiful words. I’m reminded of an old TV show, The Mod Squad, which was one of the first to try and be “woke” (I’m not sure what you’d have even called it back then) and their tag line was “one black, one white, one blonde.” I hope that you and I will be “one black, one white, One God.” Cheers to you and your blog!! I’m so glad to know you!
Susan p.s. my own words aren’t nearly as eloquent as yours but I speak from my heart. Sent from my iPhone
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I chuckled at your “participles dangle like an old woman’s slip from beneath her Sunday dress!”
I always am so honored that you not only read my words, but comment as well ❤️ Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement. Yes, the Church has failed me. But you are so right — Christ never will.